Mayor Diane Delaware relayed some good news and some bad news during the Yazoo City Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Friday.
The good news is that Yazoo City's community garden has garnered praises from the White House.
The bad news is that Yazoo City ranks among the 50 poorest cities in America.
Delaware reported that the Mayor's Health Council worked with the fire department and other students in planting the community garden.
“I want to thank the students at Manchester (Academy) who, I have to say, did some excellent planting,” she said. “I'd also like to thank the students at Webster Elementary School who planted seeds and then, we took the plants that they developed and they are in the very lovely garden.
“I don't know how it was found out, but we did receive a call from the White House thanking us for planting a community garden,” she said.
The garden, located next door to the police station, has cucumber plants, three rows of butterbeans and blackeyed peas and pepper plants.
Delaware also noted that planning is in the works to have a farmer's market.
“These are those efforts that help us to qualify for funding for health initiatives and that sort of thing,” she said. “They are very easy things to do, and while the sums of money are not millions of dollars, you know we don't need millions of dollars sometimes to help our community.”
Turning to the bad news segment of her report to the aldermen, Delaware said the The Wall Street Journal had recently reported that Yazoo City is the poorest city in the poorest state in America.
“Some of us are very upset about it and some are not,” she added. “(The WSJ news article) said that Yazoo City, Mississippi is the poorest city in the poorest state in the United States of America.
“Most of the time when we read The Wall Street Journal, we believe what they say, but that we would not like to believe.”
Delaware continued by saying, “We may be the tenth poorest; we may be number 9, or we might be number 49, but in Mississippi we may not be the poorest. It really doesn't matter because all Yazoo City has to do right now is move on up in the world and focus on our education, focus on our economics, and focus on getting jobs, and focus on doing a good job for our city, making sure we clean, making sure we provide the services well. If we are the poorest, there should be a lot of people and businesses out there who would seek to assist us and we should reach out for that assistance.”
Following Delaware's report, Ward 1 Alderman Aubry Brent Jr., championed Ward 3 Alderman Gregory Robertson's failed efforts to sway the mayor and aldermen to have speed bumps installed on Ray Alley next to Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. Reminding the board that Ward 1 Alderman Ron Johnson “had a big ticket item on Pierce Street. The mayor had a big ticket item in terms of the renovation at city hall. (Robertson's) request (for the speed bumps) was rather small, but in politics the paradigm is that sometimes we work in a qui pro quo situation i.e. you do something for me and I'll do something for you. That's the way most board operate.
“But we denied this man('s request) and at some juncture, I'd like to go back and revisit that.”
In other city business, the mayor and aldermen:
• Heard Building Inspector Russ Carter report that he is preparing 12 more properties to be addressed in the city's clean-up program. In May, Carter conducted 181 inspections on various construction projects in the city.
“We've got quite an extensive project going on at Mississippi Ag because it has become the headquarters of the John Deere Corp. in Mississippi,” he said. “It's now headquartered here in Yazoo City. It's a tremendous building project going on out there. It's around $2 million that they're adding into that project....”
Carter said 34 permits were written in May.
“There are a lot of building projects going on,” he said. “People are more and more interested in what's going on with the city, particularly with the cleaning up.”
Carter said there is a Yazoo City individual who has shown interest in building upscale apartments in the city, “so, that may be coming down the wire shortly.”
• Heard cemetery sexton Prentiss Young report that there were six funerals in Glenwood Cemetery in May, which represents five fewer than in May 2014.
“The reason for that is that most of Stricklin-King (Funeral Home) funerals have been going to the county cemeteries,” Young said.
During Young's report, Delaware reported that the Historic Preservation Committee is planning to digitalize the cemetery documentation. The information will be available online.
“People will be able to look (online) and see where their family and friends are located in our cemetery,” she said.
• Heard Delaware report that the city's certified public accountant was unable to attend the meeting, but copies of the city's financial report were available to the aldermen.
“The bottom line is we're running good,” she said. “We're at 93.47 percent of budget utilization, so we're not over at this point year to date. I think it's time to consider freezing spending except for emergency operations, and I think we'll look at that at our next meeting.”
• Approved a resolution authorizing the use of municipal resources or contract labor for cleaning up property deemed to be in a condition that is a menace to public health by owner Mary Grady at 303 Ridge Road; owners Kenneth Cork and Bill Cork EST at 331 Ridge Road; owners Bettie Lee and Patricia Hennington at 411 Ridge Road; owners Bobby Hennington and Delores Newton at 415 Ridge Road; owner Loretta A. Green at 435 Ridge Road; owner Otha Andrews EST at 524 Ridge Road; owners Robert Lee and Virginia Ann Johnson at 309 S. Yazoo St.; owners Katherine McTiller and Sean Anthony Chipps at 826 Madison Ave; owner Luelar Sutton, 425 W. First St.; owner Rebuild America at 315 Grady Ave.; owner Beverly Nelson Handy, 744 E. Eighth St. and 735 Grady Ave.; owner Sibley Properties LLCETAL at 428 S. Main St.; and owner Kathleen McTiller, 822 W. Madison St.
Board attorney Sarah Evans noted that Building Inspector Russ Carter has returned to the property after 30 days and the property had not been cleaned as ordered.
• Approved the acceptance of the following donations for the July 4 celebration: $5,000 from the Public Service Commission; $500 from Bank Plus; $500 from Bank of Yazoo City; $250 from Main Street Market; $250 from the Mutual Credit Union; $100 from Orbit Discount; $100 from Tom's on Main; $100 from Simmons Tires; $50 from Sensual Attractions; $50 from Dixie Lane Specialties; $50 from the Black and White Store; $50 from CMC Barber Shop; $50 from Rose's Bakery; and $25 from Yazoo Tax and Accounting.
• Approved an order to seek applications for deputy city clerk with interviews set for July 13.
• Went into executive session to discuss disciplinary action and the rubbish pit.